Just like you, your pooch needs a healthy diet to stay in shape. But how do you know what and how much to feed them? We explain.
Choosing what to feed your dog can be a minefield. That’s why we use advice from vets and our knowledge about individual breeds and needs to help you pick the right food for your dog. Read on to find out a bit more about what’s on offer.
Easy and convenient, dry foods are usually packed with nutrition and come tailored to puppies, dogs and golden oldies. They offer balanced meals and don’t need supplementing with anything else. The convenient choice.
Some wet foods also offer everything your pooch needs. Others will need to be mixed with meal or biscuit to provide fibre. Your dog might like it better but it can be trickier to transport and open packages will need covering and refrigerating to avoid flies – and bad smells.
You can also feed your dog meat, fish, bread, rice and add your own vitamins and minerals. Some people prefer this as they know exactly what their dog is eating, but be warned: it’s unlikely you’ll be able to provide the complex, balanced diet your pup needs.
Puppies grow a lot in their early days, so they need plenty of nutrition to do it right. Pick a puppy growth diet and feed it to your baby pooch in small portions, several times a day. They’ll need four meals a day between 6 and 12 weeks old; three meals between 12 and 20 weeks and two meals daily from 20 weeks.
How much you feed your little pup depends on their breed. Your PoochPlay app will recommend how much to give them and when, but generally you should start with the smallest recommended quantity for their age and size. If your puppy isn’t growing properly, then feed them a little bit more.
Consistency is key for delicate little tummies so make every meal the same. Never give a puppy dairy products as it’s likely to cause havoc with their insides – they don’t need it after they’ve left their mum.
Once your dog is between an year and 18 months old, you can switch to grown-up food. Make your choice of wet or dry food – then stick to it. If you do need to change your dog’s diet you should do it gradually. Mix some of the new food in with the old and reduce it bit by bit.
As with puppies, always feed your dog the smallest recommended quantity of food – PoochPlay can help you with this estimate. Leaner dogs will have more energy, be less prone to diseases and live longer.
Ah, the middle age spread – it gets us all! Fortunately for your pooch, you can stop them gaining weight as they age with a few tweaks to their diet. They’ll need fewer calories and a complete food that’s made specifically for them.
As older dogs are more likely to develop arthritis it’s important they don’t carry extra weight that could hurt their joints – they shouldn’t be any fatter as they age than they were in their prime.
Provided there’s nothing wrong with your dog, don’t worry if they miss a couple of meals from time to time. Maybe they’re just not hungry.
But if your pooch suddenly stops eating or gets an upset stomach, contact your vet. And if your pooch regularly leaves food, you’re probably feeding it too much. They should be clearing their bowl with every meal – two bowls a day is ideal.
Training them with food
Much like with a baby, giving your dog too much choice and variety can make them picky. Give them the same meal every time, put it down and leave them with 15 minutes to eat it. Then remove it, praise them if they’ve eaten it all and throw away what they haven’t.
Don’t make a fuss or give them something else – they’ll learn quickly that being fussy means they go hungry. And if not eating gets them attention, they’ll use it to their advantage.
Treats are a brilliant way to train your dog, or keep them happy on a trip to the vets. But sadly, treats mean calories so you need to compensate with the amount of food you give them. There are low calories treats available or you could using a treat ball – make them work for the goodies!
PoochPlay will tailor diet and nutrition plans to the needs of your individual dog. As we learn more about how much your pup exercises and the way food affects their weight, we can recommend how, what and when to feed them. So you have the happiest, healthiest dog possible – for longer.